The Chrysler plant in Kokomo is implementing a new 3D technology that aims to cut down on costs whenever the facility makes changes to its production line.
When engineers and managers want to change how an automotive plant runs, they have to consider several factors—cost, space, people. They normally have to look at 2-dimensional blue prints and determine how the equipment and employees all fit together.
But now the heads of the transmission manufacturing plant in Kokomo can view those blueprints in 3D.
“The proactive tool allows the end user to see their factory in 3-dimension before any of the equipment or processes are built or installed,” says Paul Leskiw, President of Strategic Manufacturing Solutions, the company that designed the technology. “So you get to see all the potential issues that could slow down an acceleration ramp and you get to solve those problems before they ever happen,”
For example, Vice President of Chrysler’s Powertrain Manufacturing Brian Harlow says the Kokomo plant used the program to plan how it would install equipment that would be used to produce its new 8-speed transmissions.
So instead of getting the equipment to the facility and then figuring out where to put it, they could do that all on a computer beforehand.
“As we did all that, we used this tool as I say to bring all this equipment together in the virtual world, so that when it landed in Kokomo, it was ready to run,” he says.
Chrysler says it plans to expand the 3D system to its other plants. And Leskiw says the program is already being used in other industries such as real estate developments that want to give potential buyers a 3D, virtual tour of residential or business properties.